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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  April 17, 2013 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT

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think really the answer is, we need to do both. we need to be tough on terrorism and tough on guns both. >> part of it is the images and part of what we all have been watching the video of the boston bombing and there's no -- of the 88 people or so people going to die of gun violence tomorrow, we don't have videos of them. don, hina, esther, home of "wake-up call." that's all for this evening. "the rachel maddow show" starts right now. good evening, rachel. >> good evening, thank you very much. thanks to you at home for joining us on a day when honestly any one in about five different big, national, leave-the-news stories would have every network newscast to itself were it not for all the other big national lead-the-news stories that are breaking today, vying for that top of the news position. the national republican party today abandoned mark sanford,
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who used to be the governor of south carolina and was a presidential hopeful at one point. today, his party abandoned his effort to get back into office in congress. that kind of politics story might very well lead the national news, but not on a day like today. today we got arrests and a confession and at least an implicit explanation in the murder of those two prosecutors in kaufman county, texas. the assistant d.a. killed in january, the d.a. himself, and his wife killed in march, as of today, finally, we know who did it. or at least who has confessed, and it is not what people expected to hear in this case. on a normal news day, that kind of thing might lead the national news. but also today, the white house announced that it, too, has received a letter in the mail that's tested positive for the poison ricin. this comes one day after a republican senator from mississippi received a letter yesterday. the late breaking news is a mississippi man is under arrest for sending both of those letters.
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we know what the letter said, we know who is in custody, we are now just waiting for the final lab results on what exactly was in those letters. in the midst of that worry, there were several other suspicious letter or package incidents reported in a number of other places in the country, including one letter that shut down carl levin's office in michigan. another incident involving white powder in an envelope in wisconsin, that has been cleared now, but at one point in the afternoon that led to a quarantine order at that health center with dozens of people being quarantined on site. again, any of those stories might be front-page news and beyond on any normal news day. today's anything but a normal news day. today's also, of course, the day we have been waiting for for 124 days now. today is the day that the u.s. senate decided on the appropriate national response to the elementary school massacre
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of 20 first graders at newtown, connecticut. today, the u.s. senate decided that the appropriate national response to that massacre should be nothing. they want to do nothing in response to that, and so they filibustered. this is huge news. the president speaking on the matter from the white house not long after the vote, one of the most powerful and angry speeches that barack obama has ever given as president of the united states. newtown families and tucson survivors standing with the president at the white house when he made those remarks. many of them today were looking on in the senate as the background checks bill was filibustered. there's a lot to explain what happened there in that story and what happens next. this is, clearly, the biggest policy story in this president's second term thus far, by far it is. but also in the midst of all of this, still today, the country is riveted to the continuing news out of boston after the bombing of the boston marathon two days ago.
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the first thing you need to know what happened today in the news about boston is some of what you may have heard today out of boston was flat-out wrong. >> again, i have a boston source, fran townsend has a second source, in fact, an arrest has been made on wednesday. here's what fran's source said, an arrest has been made based on two different videos showing images of the suspect. i was told the video enhancement showed a dark-skinned male placing the package at the second explosion site and backing away. >> an arrest has been made, a dark-skinned male placing the package and backing away. everybody freak out, and, of course, everybody did kind of freak out much of the afternoon with that information. fox news reported a suspect is in custody in the boston marathon bombing. associated press reporting that a suspect is in custody. the hometown boston globe
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breaking the news on twitter, quote, breaking, arrest in boston marathon bombing. and the link, you can see the link there, see the way the link spells out, refresh equals true. in this case, untrue. we at the show have been glued to the boston globe's website this week, they are doing stupendous work, but when the big headline says "marathon bomb suspect in custody" and it's next to the little headline saying there is no bombing suspect in custody, what you have is not an evolving story, what you have is a mess. you have faulty reporting on a really important matter driving a frenetic news cycle all day today, and the pushback from law enforcement was plain and a little bit pointed. from the boston police department, despite reports to the contrary, there has not been an arrest in the marathon attack.
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the fbi went a step further. quote, over the past day and a half, there have been a number of press reports that have been inaccurate. since these sources -- excuse me, since these stories often have unintended consequences, we ask the media, particularly at this early stage of the investigation, to exercise caution and attempt to verify information through appropriate official channels before reporting. so, no suspect in custody today in the boston marathon bombing. there was no arrest. that did not happen. that doesn't mean there wasn't real news from the investigation today. we do know the investigators have been carefully going through a large amount of visual evidence from the scene, pictures and video, right, they say they are looking for people who might have been carrying large, black, nylon backpacks or duffel bags. nbc news confirmed investigators are seeking at least one person who was seen on security video from a department store near the finish line. nbc reporting tonight that the man was seen leaving the bag that he was carrying near the site of the second explosion. among the evidence they are considering is this photo from
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nbc's boston affiliate whdh. you can see the spot shadow there. the photo appears to show a bag sitting on the curb and after the explosions, the bag is gone. any number of things could explain why the bag is gone. is this a clue, is this a signal, or is this noise? we do not yet know. investigators are beginning to piece together crucial information about the bombs themselves. metal containers and in one instance a pressure cooker stuffed with bits of metal intended to become scraps of metal. they found a lid of a pressure cooker on the roof from the blast. today, a report that new information is available about what was used to ignite the bomb. they say it was the kind of battery that you typically find in little remote-controlled cars made in china and sold by the many thousands. investigators have also recovered a circuit board used
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to wire the explosives. nbc is being told by investigators in boston now they do have solid leads in terms of trying to find out who did this. it seems like there was real progress in the investigation today, including some very specific information about some physical evidence that, of course, will be tracked down as best as possible. but overall, if you were following the news out of boston today, it was really quite chaotic. reporters gathered at a federal courthouse in boston for an fbi briefing and it was confusing. was a suspect in custody and being brought to the courthouse for some reason? when it became clear nobody was in custody but the reports were still out there lingering and people were wondering, well, if there's smoke is there fire here, maybe did law enforcement have some other information to share, in the middle of that scrum and reporters and people just collected at the courthouse, the courthouse ended up getting cleared itself and it was not apparent for awhile why they did that. authorities later said it was a bomb threat that caused the evacuation of the courthouse and the surrounding area and a bomb
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threat is always scary, perhaps more so right now, but while that was going on today at the federal courthouse in boston, while all the media was gathered there wondering if the inaccurate reports were going to turn out to maybe be accurate, while this was happening today, it added to the media-generated chaos. joining us now, pete williams, who i should tell you, is in the same building i am in but is at another camera because he needs to be close to his desk phone. it truly is that kind of day in the news, pete. thank you very much for being here. >> you bet. >> what do we know about what authorities have been able to find from combing through the pictures and videos in the two days since the bombing? >> well, i think you've summarized it well. the holy grail for them was to see someone setting down a heavy backpack or duffel bag, a black nylon bag, that they believe this relatively heavy bomb was carried in. they think it weighed about 20 pounds, setting it down at the scene of one or the other of the
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bombings, and then getting away. they believe they have found a picture like that, first from the store surveillance camera that you noted, but they since have been able to triangulate that or get other views of it from other pictures and recordings that people who are in the area have sent them. people who have sent them pictures not knowing what exactly was to be found on them, so, they see a face, they just don't know who that face is. they are trying to figure out that person. they want to find that person and talk to them and find out what their story is. another possible lead here is the fact that the person was in the pictures talking on a cell phone. so, that gives them a second avenue to pursue here. they can get all the cell phone records for the hundreds and hundreds of people in the area at the time using their cell phones and see if that can give them an additional source of information to find out who this person was. so, that's their most promising avenue right now. >> pete, in terms of the physical forensics of the explosives themselves, are we yet able to say whether it was
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definitively one pressure cooker bomb, whether both bombs were of the same type, are we able to be any more definitive in the way we describe those explosives? >> you know, they still are not saying for sure, the latest bulletin i saw is they are holding back on saying the second one was a pressure cooker bomb. the interesting thing is you see these pictures here is that the bomb pieces were not blown to bits. they were seriously deformed, but the pieces are quite large. this is another indicator that the explosive was probably smokeless powder or gun powder, which is in the order of explosives, a relatively low energy one. if it had been a higher explosive like plastic, like t.a.t.p. or dynamite, you'd have seen the pieces blown into smaller pieces. so, that's another plus for investigators in that they can see these relatively large pieces, chase down exactly the kind of pressure cooker, batteries, wires, and see where that leads. these things may be easier said than done.
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the battery, for example, is made by a chinese company, but as you noted earlier, they are common. they are all over the united states. the wire you can see the name on there is made in china, too. you put all these things together, though, they point in another direction. these circuits on the ground, they are trying to decide what they were, were they pieces of an electronic timer or were they pieces of some kind of remote receiver, and i think that's what they are trying to find out. >> pete, do we know yet why there may have been such confusion today whether there had been an arrest and somebody in custody, it, obviously, turned out not to be true, but for a long time this afternoon it wasn't just news outlets seeming to make it up, they were citing law enforcement sources telling them that an arrest had been made. do we have any insight as to why that happened or whether it was just total miscommunication?
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>> i don't know. i'm sure these people, you know, they are good journalists. i'm sure they were told this by sources, i just can't say how heavily vetted it was. my guess is, and this is strictly a guess, probably, this is an educated guess, i should say, maybe they initially thought they knew who these people in the pictures were, maybe they were checking out more than one person. maybe they did go talk to somebody or a witness and that was misinterpreted as, oh, they are about to arrest someone, oh, they've arrested someone. that's just a guess, though. >> the fbi's statement refuting those inaccurate reports today, this is part of the reason i asked, warned wrong information like this often has unintended consequences. the way they worded it meant they think this has unintended there are numerous injuries
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and the buildings on fire. firefighters are trying to put it out it can still be seen rising from the state. ambulances are parked, and emergency workers are tending to victims. we will listen in to nbc affiliates and their ongoing coverage of this developing story. >> what else do you have? >> again, at this point, when asked what is the most important thing people need to know, he said the search and rescue is underway. plenty of emergency resources here on the scene. people who live primarily to the north of this fertilizer plant and the blast radius, about a five-block radius, those folks that live north are being told to stay inside. their concern is fumes and gas from this fertilizer plant from the wind direction to the north.
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anywhere east, south, southwest, this area is fine. there is no concern for the air quality in this area. he does think in said they do not think any more explosions will happen. to tell us this will be an all-night into tomorrow, perhaps it is officially tomorrow and will be soon at this point. they are working on this problem. they have a lot of work to do. >> i see a lot of the emergency officials behind you. describe to us where you are. is that a command center of sorts? i think this shot is frozen up. a lot of commotion where he is. people trying to get together. >> more video. this is new video. >> o rauch. >> that is what we have been talking about. that happened before 8:00 tonight. unbelievable. >> this is video off of youtube
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of that exclus the explosion. i don't know who shot the video, but it looks almost as if they were knocked back. they don't look like they are that far from that plant. >> they told us this fertilizer plant caught fire around 6:30 to 7:00 tonight. the fire department, five or six people on the scene trying to fight this fire. >> he very well could have been there. we want to bring in the meteorologist. explain the whether and how it is involved. >> the big factor is the wind. you heard ben talk about that as well. i am working on a forecast for west. there will have a southerly wind. we have a wind gusting up to 35 miles an hour right now. they have very similar winds
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down there. for the next four, five, six hours or so, northwest wind coming into the picture as a cold front comes through. around sunrise tomorrow, chance for thunderstorms in the 4:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. time frame. temperatures tomorrow mostly in the 50s. i am going to change my graphic here. we are tracking these thunderstorms. i have a time line i want to show you. not only for the west area, but basically all of north texas. we are monotremes some thunderstorms that are trying to get going. there will be cranking as we get past about 3:00. from midnight until 4 a.m., the best chance for thunderstorms will be to the northwest of the metroplex. later in the overnight hours, that is when the metroplex, that
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is when west will be affected by the thunderstorms. i anticipate a broken northwest texas that should fill in a little bit more. i will not say we will have severe weather, but it could be hailed. that is the -- >> we are following in developing breaking news story out of the town of west texas right outside of waco, texas. earlier there was an explosion at a fertilizer plant that happened around 750 two p.m., about 8:50 p.m. eastern time. we don't know the casualties of injuries or possible fatalities. we are hearing reports of possibly hundreds of injured and up to two dead. those are preliminary reports and are not confirmed. the blast was felt as far as 15 miles away and could be heard as far as 45 miles away.
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at this time, officials have a lingering concerns about air quality in the area. they are asking residents to stay indoors to avoid the possibility of coming into contact with toxic fumes. the fire continues to burn. it not only did damage to the plant but damage to surrounding buildings. reports that a nursing home and a middle school were also damaged in this explosion that occurred at a fertilizer plant near waco, texas. again, we don't have a number on casualties or fatalities, but the reports are that there could be possibly hundreds injured. officials have set up a triage area in a field nearby. ambulances and emergency crews in the area. they have a staging area to treat victims of this explosion. there is no understanding of what caused this explosion. the town of -- this is near
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waco, interstate 35, which is reportedly the main way in and out of this town. it has been closed. this is video from earlier this evening which shows the fire burning after the explosion. we see the damage here, if you are-joining us, of an explosion in west texas. they are dealing with the injured, with those hurt in this blast. a number of people are wheeled in in wheelchairs. nursing homes and a middle school have also been damaged. now at this time we are going to go back to the affiliates for their coverage of this breaking story. >> hillcrest baptist in waco. several patience have come there. we heard from the ceo, clint robinson. he said this has been a tough
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week. he said many of the people coming in here look like we peeler families, and mom, dad, children coming in together. this hapned with a lot of family sitting down for dinner, getting ready for bed. 250 to 300 additional hospital staff are now here to help treat the injured from west. he said to donate tomorrow. donate blood tomorrow at carter or stopped in white. that is the information. many of the injured have gone. it's a level ii troubles center. >> here is the full number for those concerned about friends and loved ones he. 25420 to 1100. 254, 20 to 1100. that is the number to call for information about friends and
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loved ones. whatever you do, do not get in your car and drive there. the town is absolutely overwhelmed with emergency responders. there has been gridlock, so we do not want to add to that. >> we need to give them room to do what they need to do. there has been an explosion in the town of west at a fertilizer plant. it has destroyed, heavily damaged up to 100 buildings around in a five-block radius, including the mayor's home. they are looking for survivors door to door, possibly deceased. one quote we have been saying, he said people, the mayor did, people may not be here tomorrow. >> when i was listening to that news conference, i was struck by the mere's sense of resilience. he said we are battered, but we will be back. this town will rebuild.
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his own home was heavily damaged. he said that we can rebuild this town. we have to find our people. he talked about the fact that this fertilizer plant was on fire at about 6:30, 7:00. he said fully engulfed. west has a small, volunteer fire department like so many small towns. they were all on the scene when that explosion happened. ben russell is standing by. >> i have a gentleman here who works at this west -- >> again, we are covering breaking news out of the town of west texas, a fertilizer plant explosion. we are looking at video from
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earlier that shows some of the fire and damage. no report at this time on casualties. the number of injured or dead, but the preliminary reports are that this is a devastating explosion. reports of up to 100, possibly injured and up to two dead. that is not yet confirmed. reports of extensive property damage, homes up to hundreds of homes within a five-mile radius are destroyed or damaged and that rescuers are going door to door looking for people who are in those homes to make sure they are okay and to try to locate them. the mayor of the town, we can see the power of this explosion as it took place. this happened right before 8:00 p.m. local time. you are looking at video of a fertilizer plant explosion in the town of west, texas. the mayor, whose own home was
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severely destroyed said people may not be here tomorrow. that is an early indication of how bad the casualty count could be. we don't have numbers on that. we will continue to cover this developing story out of west, texas. we will break at this time. stay with us for more news. t ne. clusters of pustules, pimples. the soreness was excruciating. it was impossible to even think about dancing. when you're dancing, your partner is holding you. so, his hand would have been right in the spot that i had the shingles. no tango. no rhumba. you can't be touched. for more of the inside story, visit i don'without goingcisions to angie's list first. you'll find reviews on home repair to healthcare written by people just like you. with angie's list, i know who to call, and i know the results will be fantastic. angie's list -- reviews you can trust.
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1. that is near the town of
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waco. a fertilizer plant explosion earlier this evening has devastated a community. at this time, we don't have reports on casualties of injured or dead, but there are reports that it's likely the hundred are injured in this explosion. the explosion took place before 8:00 p.m. local time. this started with a fire this evening. as firefighters were there trying to battle the blaze, that is when the explosion took place. officials have set up a triage area. you can see the video there. they are wielding people and treating them on to this team. there was severe destruction to the surrounding area. within a five-mile radius, virtually every building has been destroyed and/or damaged. officials are going door-to-door to locate people to make sure they are okay at this time. we want to go to charles nearby
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west, texas. he can give us more information. what is going on there now? >> i just got into west texas, and every car on the road seems to be an emergency vehicle, fire truck, ambulance or a police car that have come from miles around to west texas to help the victims here. what we know so far is that the explosion at the fertilizer plant on the north end of town demolished the fertilizer plant and several blocks of this town. they had a staging area set up in a football stadium just across the street from the hospital here intown, but that had to be evacuated because of a strong smell of anhydrous ammonia. now they are in a baseball diamond. we are unable to provide pictures because the faa has placed a no-fly zone over west, texas, due to the danger of
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another possible explosion. >> there have been some concerns about air quality. residents have been told to stay inside to avoid contact with potentially toxic fumes. have you heard anything about that, and does it smell like anything is not right? >> i have not smelled anything that is not out of the ordinary, but i have heard reports that police officers were using gas masks. it is a very windy day here in texas. a cold front is making its way through, so the winds are really howling across the plains ahead of the storms. that is helping to break up any of the toxins that may be in the air. the wins are gusting up to 30 miles an hour. that will help to disperse any toxins. by the way, it continues to burn. i can see it in the distance, what appears to be you houses on
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fire. >> interstate 35 has been closed. that is the main way in and out of town. is there a backup of traffic? is this affecting emergency crews getting to the scene? >> thankfully i grew up in texas and know how to use the back roads. i got right into town, avoiding the interstate. that is a problem because the main artery across this part of texas is i-35. it's going under reconstruction as well. it's a nightmare to be on highway 35. >> as you are in that area, do you see residents out? are they heeding the calls from officials to stay inside? >> a few people on their doorsteps looking around to see what they can see, but most people have heeded the warnings
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in have left town. >> stay on the line with us. i want to recap for anyone who may be joining us. we are covering developing news out of west, texas. victims are being treated on a field near a fertilizer plant. it was a fertilizer plant explosion earlier this evening. a massive explosion was felt as far as 15 miles away and heard as far as 45 miles away. we do not have any confirmed numbers of injured or dead. early reports are that there are likely to be hundreds of injured. emergency crews are unseen treating some of those affected. the damage goes beyond human casualties too. extensive damage to the community. within a five-mile radius, every building has suffered some degree of damage that includes the mayor's house. he spoke about this terrible
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incident earlier today. perhaps a grim for shot a weeping, he said, quote, people may not be here tomorrow. rescuers continued to go door-to-door to locate people and make sure they are able to treat anyone who may have been affected by this explosion. that plant is reportedly still on fire at this time. we are getting ready to go to a break, but you did mention you could see a glow in the distance. is there still a fire burning? >> there are still fires burning. i was in cosman county covering the death of the d.a. there. we could hear it -- >> i have to cut you off. kate and i have been married for 15 years.
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♪ we have breaking news out of the town of west, texas, near the town of waco, texas. developments on a fertilizer plant explosion that happened earlier this evening. a massive explosion said to have been felt 15 miles away and
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heard up to 45 miles away. at this time, that fire is still burning there. officials have serious concerns about air quality. aircraft have been told to clear from that area residents have been told to stay inside to avoid contact with toxic fumes. we do not have confirmed numbers of fatalities or injuries, but it's likely hundreds have been injured in this devastating explosion. furthermore, severe damage to surrounding areas. in a five-mile radius, virtually every building has been destroyed or damaged in some way, including the mayor's own home. residents have been asked to stay inside. some residents have been evacuated in nearby areas for concerns of secondary explosions. the main interstate going in and out of that town has also been closed as this story continues to develop. we are following reports.
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officials at this time are treating the injured eye to a field nearby. there are a number of emergency crews, first responders there, who are treating those injured in that initial blast. they have evacuated a number of people from nearby facilities. there was damage to a nursing home. presumably some of those are either kiwis from that nursing-home. these residences are being brought to a nearby field where they can be treated. we have on the phone with us now charles, who has made his way into west and is there now. bring us up to speed on what you are seeing at this time. >> a lot of emergency vehicles roaming the streets. there is a block of area on the north part of town, where they are going block by block, house by house, looking for survivors and wounded in this disaster
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here in west dirt reports of at least 200 people injured and several fatalities, but that is unconfirmed at this moment. the plant is on the north part of town. there was a football field that was initially used as a staging area and a triage area. that have to be evacuated when fear of another explosion caused authorities to move that triage unit to the south part of town in a baseball field. >> we are told that firefighters were battling the blaze at the time this explosion took place. we know anything about possible injuries to first responders? given that the town of west is small, and we have first responders coming from surrounding areas? >> surrounding areas for sure. i did hear from the local affiliate that they had a witness who saw smoke off in the distance and thought that maybe
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they were battling a house fire. minutes later, his whole house shook. presumably firefighters were on the scene of this fertilizer fire when the explosion occurred. there have been unconfirmed reports that firefighters have been injured and perhaps killed in this, but it's very preliminary right now. they are just trying to make sure that the wounded are treated and taken to the nearby hospital. i was driving down from the cosman area south of dallas to get here and passed numerous fire trucks and numerous ambulances on the way north to hospitals in dallas. >> you also mentioned that there are restrictions on helicopters and aircraft in that area. is that due to smoke and air quality? >> i don't think it's the fumes as much of the chance of another explosion. anhydrous ammonia is a very
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dangerous product. texas is familiar with that. back in the 1940s, the texas city shipped explosion blew up two giant ships filled with anhydrous ammonia. that explosion back in texas city in the 1940s killed thousands of people. >> say on the line, if you will. i want to listen in to the nbc affiliate and their coverage of this development. >> smoldering embers, a patch of orange just near the stadium lights. we have been talking about the football field. we drove past the bat, which looks vacant now. much of the town does as well. lot of the streets are blocked off. we are trying to get closer to where all of this unfolded so that we can bring you more
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coverage on that. as you drive past gas stations, folks do not want gas to be in the air because of the situation that unfolded. my first impression as you drive in is that it just looks like a ghost town with red in blue police lights. >> ray has arrived on the seam in west, as we continue to look at these images shot. you can see what he is talking about. all of the flashing lights that have converged to help people in this community. we are still working with these numbers that we have been sharing with you. at least 200 injured, 40 of those people in critical condition. 75 to 100 homes and businesses in this small community either heavily damaged or destroyed. you can see the effort here earlier tonight to help people on the football field, which is
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right next door to the fertilizer plant in west. this is where they set up a triage unit to help these people were screaming and injured from this powerful, powerful explosion that we are now getting this home video of. >> this is the west football field where they set up that trio of center. initially they had emergency evacuation helicopters trying to get patience in and out of there as quickly as possible. i think this image that you see right here shows the desperation of people immediately after to get help. west is one of those places that probably has a volunteer fire department. it might take a while for ambulances to get there. this is what they did immediately. a lot of people in wheelchairs. there was a nursing home but had about 133 people in it. i believe they mentioned that there was some flying glass.
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they worked to get those people out as quickly as possible. this is the image, a makeshift command center and another tree of center. these school buses, that is how desperate they are. they were loading them up into school buses in. >> we heard that troopers were putting them into their cars and driving them to the hospital, doing whatever they could to get help to people. when help came, it came. >> it came fast. >> absolutely massive response. we have been talking all night about howl in all of the major news stories, we have never seen a picture quite like this. a small town just completely inundated with those red and blue lights that mean help is here. >> so much help arrived. they had to turn away some people because they have so much
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help. more help than none at all. incredible thing. they are going to hospitals nearby. two children were taken to temple. we are hoping those children are okay. it's a level ii trauma center. we are working to get the number on injured and those that are possibly deceased. >> this is one of the most powerful images, this aerial shot from chopper 5 of this building. i believe this is the nursing home that had 133 patients inside. you can see how heavily damaged that building is. they get all 133 people out of there. we don't know raw numbers, but that is how many people were in the building. we don't know how many people are accounted for at this time. the mayor says that is what they are doing. that is job one, to account for
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as many people as possible. the only thing we can tell you -- >> you are listening to the affiliate covering breaking news out of texas. a fertilizer plant explosion in the town of west. hundreds of injuries. we do not have confirmed numbers yet, but we will cover this breaking news story. stay with us through the break. are you still sleeping? just wanted to check and make sure that we were on schedule. the first technology of its kind... mom and dad, i have great news. is now providing answers families need. siemens. answers. but i see a world bursting with opportunity,ople nervous. with ideas, with ambition. i'm thinking about china,
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we are continuing with our breaking news coverage of a fertilizer plant explosion out of west texas. we will listen in to a news conference that began a few moments ago. >> just being here and seeing this and not knowing, i imagine. >> it's hard to say. >> thank you very much. >> all right. >> this is a gentleman who works here. he was here. his name is brian. he said he heard the situation. he has not been over there to physically see it, but he is concerned about just what this will look like when the sun comes up.
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>> i know you bring us that new information as soon as you had it. we have lindsey wilcox with us. you have information with us about the efforts in north texas to help folks in west. >> we have heard from people throughout the night, the mayor of west saying that they have enough resources. sitting here watching these images, the coverage -- >> back is it the nbc affiliate covering an explosion out of the town of west, texas. hundred slightly injured, many injured. hospitals are treating many patience for burn injuries. we do not have confirmed numbers or fatalities. the community has been severely damaged, hundreds of homes either completely destroyed or damaged in some way. at this time, officials are going door to tour. we do have new video to share
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with you. this was sent in by a viewer. this is of the explosion. we should warn you that it may be disturbing for some of our viewers. take a look. >> again, you are looking at video of a fertilizer plant explosion as it took place before 8:00 p.m. local time in the town of west, texas. a fire had already been burning up the time the explosion took place. firefighters were on the scene trying to battle the blaze when the explosion happened. many have severe concerns about the safety of those first responders who were there at the time the explosion took place. charles is in the town of west, texas. he arrived a short time ago.
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describe what you are seeing. >> a lot of emergency vehicles prowling the streets. most of the activity is on the northern part of town with a fertilizer plant was located. that is also with a hospital is located and where the football field was located where the initial triage unit was set up. that has been sent down and moved to the southern part of town because of fears of another explosion from the plant. the plant was making -- at least stored anhydrous ammonia and, which is a very volatile material used in fertilizer and in making bombs at times. >> we have seen a nursing home, how badly it has been destroyed. this was not a building involved in that blast. this was a collateral damage, if you will. it was in the surrounding area of damaged by the force of the blast. any other signs of damage around
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the community? >> i have seen broken glass, but for the most part where i am now just south of the main thoroughfare through west texas, there is very little evidence of any damage. electricity is still on here. this was a very powerful explosion. i was in kaufman, county. i was in a building, and suddenly the building rattled and everybody thought that the wind was really picking up. when i walked outside, it really wasn't that windy. i shrugged it off until about 15 or 20 minutes later when we started getting reports about what a calamity had happened here. >> how far away was that? >> about 58 miles. >> earlier when we were speaking with you, you said you could still see the orange glow, the
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fire appeared to be burning. do we know if the fire is under control? >> it continues to burn, but i cannot tell you what it is. i don't know if its remnants of the plant or per heart a structure still on fire. we have fire trucks from as far away as we go. fire trucks are still coming into the area to offer relief to the firefighters that are still in that burned out zone working door to door to try to find survivors. >> we have heard reports that 75 to 100 buildings have been severely damaged or destroyed. what can you tell us about the town of west. my understanding is that it is a small town. 100 buildings virtually most of that community now effective? >> the northern half of it is. west is a very small community
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on i-35 between hillsborough and waco. it is a wide spot on the freeway. most of the town is off to the east of the interstate. this was to the north of the main corridor through town. motorists probably saw a big mushroom cloud that billowed up from the explosion. that freeway is closed tonight between hillsborough and we go. just a massive traffic jam just a massive traffic jam there. ambulances were passing me going out of town. >> you mentioned that motorists might have felt it. 1 motorist was driving through the area, and she said it was like being in a tornado.
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stuff was flying everywhere. it blew out my windshield. i should point out we are awaiting a press conference from officials. hopefully that will take place so we can get some up-to-date information on how bad the damage is here. i want to go back to you. officials have asked residents to stay inside because of concerns about air quality and the potential for toxic fumes in the area. does it smell like anything is out of the ordinary? >> no, but to be honest i am on the south part of town and the wins are from the south. i am not close to that. it's very dusty this evening. we are expecting storms in the next six or seven hours. the wins are very gusty. that will break up any toxic chemicals that may be leaking into the air from this fire.
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>> other areas people have been evacuated because of concerns of secondary explosions. they have also asked aircraft to stay out of the area because of the concern of these explosions. does it look like people have heeded this advice? are people still congregating to figure out what is going on? >> i did see a group of men who were in army fatigues. i don't know if they are reservists or who have come to help. they are volunteering and going door-to-door asking if people needed anything. it's a very small community here, a very tight-knit community, and it is hurting tonight with so many people injured. >> undoubtedly a community that is hurting tonight. the mayor of the town, his home has been severely damaged. we don't know the number of potential fatalities or casualty's i